Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini thought it was “impossible” for Cristiano Ronaldo to join the Serie A champions before the superstar arrived in Turin.
Ronaldo attended Juve training for the first time on Monday after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner left European champions Real Madrid in a €112million deal earlier this month.
The 33-year-old Portugal captain hinted at a shock move away from Madrid after the club’s third successive Champions League title in May.
Chiellini – in the United States for Juve’s clash against the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday – doubted the Italian giants would sign Ronaldo when rumours first emerged.
“[The first time I heard about Ronaldo], I said to my friends, ‘Nah, it’s impossible,'” Chiellini told ESPN. “After one day, [I thought] maybe it is possible.
“With our manager, with our director … it’s a reality. Juventus is growing … year after year, and we need a champion like Cristiano.
“We are excited, we are ready to work with him; all the parts of the club, the players, the marketing manager, the director, are ready to improve with Cristiano and we hope he can help us to achieve our target.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 30, 2018
It has been a busy off-season for Juve, who are seeking to win the Champions League, having dominated domestically with seven successive Serie A titles.
Joao Cancelo, Mattia Perin and Emre Can have arrived, while striker Gonzalo Higuain and defender Mattia Caldara could leave as Juve try to re-sign AC Milan centre-back Leonardo Bonucci just one season after the Italian left Turin.
“Leonardo, for me, is a friend,” Chiellini said. “I pass my holiday with him and my family.
“I know about his quality, but I don’t know. It’s not easy, and I want to have respect to my team-mates … I’m not president or director, so we will see what happens at the end of the Serie A — we will see if Leonardo is here.”